Discussion On The Secularism Of Turkey In It's Politics, Culture And International Relations.

3507 words - 14 pages

The Republic of Turkey: Secularism at the Crossroads of Europe and AsiaThe area of modern day Turkey has always been the crossroads of Europe, and Asia. The land has been the home to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Having been split up between two continents, and three different religions, it is a unique place considering it's past and potential. The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States reports that the Republic of Turkey has a population around 67.3 million people, 99.8% of which are Muslim. Unlike its Islamic-state neighbors, the Republic of Turkey has gone to great lengths to secularize, and it has felt the ramifications in its culture, political agenda and in its international relations.Turkish Societal EvolvementMustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern day Turkey, once declared, "We are not taking up the western civilization saying let's make an imitation. The things that we see as good in them and we find to be suitable for our own structure, we are adopting for the level of world civilization." Since the proclamation of independence of the Republic of Turkey on the 29th of October 1923, many social reforms have taken place. The reforms of Turkey have drastically changed the cultural and political atmosphere. The former ruling body of the Ottoman Empire, which expanded across all of the Middle East and North Africa, the Sultanate, which ruled since the 14th century, was abolished in 1922. Also, in October of 1923 the Caliphate, which was an aristocracy, was abolished as well. These two changes were the key steps that were needed in order to create a democracy.Under the irrepressible examples of the American and French revolutions, a nation must create a society in which titles and social classes are eliminated in order to preserve the equal standing of the people before the law. Democracy is the celebration of the common people and the achievement of the individual, not his father, thus titles and automatic classes are inappropriate. Consequently not long after the republic was created, legal reform regarding women was introduced. Their legal position and social status greatly improved. The civil code of 1926 gave women unmatched legal rights, and in 1934 they received the right to vote, and were able to run for office. By 1991, women made up 18% of the Turkish workforce. Also, all Turks were given the freedom of religion and belief. These were very modern and progressive ideas. And that's what the first modern Turkish president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was trying to accomplish. He fathered the dream of a Western modern civilization."The foundation of the Turkish Republic is culture," proclaimed Ataturk. Turkey's goal of secularization is unprecedented in the Middle East region. The republic stands on the outer regions of the heart of Islam, and is constantly confronted by the strong religious attitude that radiates from its neighbors such as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Ataturk explained that, "every individual has the...

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